A Day to Remember: How Soccer and Tennis Captivated The World

Sam Richman Contributor IJune 23, 2010

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 23:  Landon Donovan of the United States celebrates with teammate Edson Buddle after scoring the winning goal that sends the USA through to the second round during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between USA and Algeria at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 23, 2010 in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images


Isn't it ironic that one of the most memorable days in U.S sports history was a result of two of the country's most overlooked sports. Both the Landon Donovan's last minute goal against Algeria and John Isner's surreal, ultra-marathon match against Nicolas Mahut provided sports fans everywhere with one of the most incredible days in sports history. 

As I tuned into the U.S' pivotal game at 10 a.m, I had no idea what I would be in for. Sure I knew the game was vital for the U.S to advance into the knockout round, but little did I know I would be watching one of the most memorable and important soccer games in U.S history. As the game started the Algerians immediately pressured the U.S knocking a ball off the crossbar in only the seventh minute; however, from that point on the U.S took control of the game. 

The U.S began attacking as though their soccer lives were on the line. After an entire half of attacking the Algerian goal the U.S had nothing to show for it. This came as a result of yet another poor call against the U.S. Midway through the first half Clint Dempsey seemingly scored on a pass from Hercules Gomez; however, yet another phantom call disallowed the goal leaving the U.S with nothing to show for a strong half.

As the second half opened up the U.S continued where they had left off in the first half. Yet again they missed their opportunities. Banging balls off the post or hitting shots right into the goalie, it seemed as though the U.S would never score. As the game went on the pressure only increased, as England had the lead against Slovenia. With the English taking the lead in the other game the U.S had their backs against the ropes. 

When 4 minutes were put on the clock for extra time, the United States felt all the pressure in the world. If they failed to score a goal, they would fail to move on to the knockout round for the second straight World Cup. Coming in second place in the Confederation Cup, the U.S had high aspirations for this World Cup. Unfortunately it seemed like their dreams would come to an end, as they failed to score in the first 90 minutes. 

Then all of a sudden the U.S energized the entire country as Landon Donovan scored one of the most exhilarating goals in team history. As the Algerian goalie seemingly shut the door on the U.S again, by blocking Clint Dempsey's initial shock; Landon Donovan followed up with an incredible goal that most people could only dream about. 

The goal not only allowed the U.S to seal a key victory against Algeria, but also allowed them to lock up their first group stage title in decades. The win advanced the U.S to the knockout stage for the first time since 2002. 

Little did most people know, this match may not have even been the most exciting sporting event of the day. Following the soccer match I turned on ESPN2 to see what was going on at Wimbledon. The night prior I had been watching American, John Isner, in his first match at Wimbledon. Little did I know this match would still be on following a 2 hour soccer game the next day. In fact when I tuned into this match Isner was still in the fifth set. 

Not only was Isner in the first set, but he was tied with Nicolas Mahut 27 games apiece in the the fifth set. The sight was simply incredible. The fact that both of these men were able to play on following 54 games in the fifth set was surreal. However, this was nowhere near the end of the match. As both continued to struggle through pain and fatigue they reached over 100 games in the fifth set. By the time the match was suspended for the second straight day the match was all square at 59 games each. 

To put this match into perspective, a very long 5 set match would be 5 hours. This set alone was well over 5 hours. The match has reached over 10 hours, surpassing the longest match in tennis history by nearly 4 hours. Both man have shattered both the ace records at Wimbledon and in any tennis match ever. (Both nearly have 100 aces). 

Though the tennis was painful to even watch, both men put forth a valiant effort to strive on. This has truly been a match of fortitude and the human will to win. Though one of these men will eventually lose this has certainly been an epic match, which will never be forgotten. Both Isner and Mahut have fought like champions. Though it is unlikely that either of these men will win the championship at Wimbledon, it is certain that both of these names will never be forgotten. 

Surprisingly tennis and soccer provided the world with two of the most memorable performances in sports history.